Press Release

EPA’s Update to Soot Standards Will Help Protect Vulnerable Midwesterners

“The updated standard is a critical step toward cleaner air for those who need it most across the Midwest”

Statement by Howard Learner
Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center

 “We appreciate EPA’s new standards to reduce soot pollution that enters peoples’ lungs and can cause asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death. The EPA’s lower annual standard for this ‘fine particulate matter (PM)’ to 9 ug/m3 than the current level of 12 ugm3 is an important step toward protecting people who are disproportionately impacted by the most serious health effects of breathing dirty air. This PM standard hasn’t been updated since 2012.

 “While we had urged EPA to adopt tighter standards that would deliver better health outcomes for those living in communities burdened by air pollution, including sensitive individuals like children and the elderly, EPA’s new standard is an important step in the right direction toward cleaner air for people in Chicago and across the Midwest.

“ELPC agrees with the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) recommendation that standards no higher than 8 μg/m3 would be better, healthier and supported by sound science. Today’s EPA announcement still moves significantly closer to the CASAC’s recommended annual standard than the outdated weaker existing standard.

“From ELPC’s work with local groups to monitor soot pollution in communities across Chicago we know there are neighborhoods that are experiencing high levels of this soot pollution. In some neighborhoods in Chicago, up to one in three kids struggle with higher rates of asthma and other lung ailments. This new stronger standard will help ensure more Chicagoans have cleaner air to breathe.”

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